News

New Zine: Starting an Anarchist Black Cross – A Guide

Anarchist News - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 14:12

The Anarchist Black Cross is an international network of anarchist groups and individuals engaged in practical solidarity with prisoners and broader anti-repression struggles that started over 100 years ago.

This zine is a resource for anyone wanting to start an Anarchist Black Cross group. It was a collective effort of people from various ABC groups across Europe. We hope you find it inspiring and useful.

Inside you can find articles and resources on:

* What is the Anarchist Black Cross and why does it exist?
* How do ABC groups organise
* What do ABC groups do
* An overview of international days of solidarity
* Top tips for fundraising
* How to keep an ABC group going
* Taking care of each other while doing ABC work
* Resources

Download a copy for reading (8mb): http://solidarity.international/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ABC-Zine-Smal...

Download a high resolution version for printing (30mb): http://www.prisonabolition.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ABC-Zine-Pages...

This zine is dedicated to Anna Campbell. Anna was killed by Turkish forces while fighting alongside Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in the defence of Afrin in March 2018. Anna was a dedicated member of Bristol Anarchist Black Cross and took her commitment to solidarity and mutual aid to her grave.

Tags: prisonsolidarityanarchists facing repressionanarchist black crossanarchists in troublecategory: Prisoners
Categories: News

Emmanuel Macron’s “Extreme Centrism” Is a Threat to Democracy

Truth Out - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 14:11

French President Emmanuel Macron has been crusading to all corners of the world, receiving applause for his impassioned pleas on behalf of the postwar liberal order in the face of rising authoritarianism and nationalism.

This spring, in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the new French leader compared the ongoing political divisions within Europe to a “civil war” and pledged to never “yield to any fascination for authoritarian sovereignties” — a clear reference to the ongoing democratic backslide in Hungary and Poland.

“I do not want to be part of a generation of sleepwalkers,” the 40-year-old president declared. “I want to belong to a generation which has made a firm decision to uphold its democracy.” He also pledged to “defend European sovereignty because we fought for it.”

A few days later, the French president was in Washington DC as President Donald Trump’s first visiting head of state. In his address to the US Congress, Macron reiterated the need to stand up for democracy and urged lawmakers to preserve and strengthen the liberal international order the US itself helped to create. “The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism,” Macron said. “You are the one now, who has to help preserve and reinvent it.”

Yet in practice, Macron’s own relationship to democracy has often contradicted his lofty rhetoric. Although 63 percent of French people think Macron has improved the image of France abroad, 58 percent are dissatisfied with his presidency — and 73 percent described him as authoritarian, according to a recent IFOP poll. And no wonder: Macron has repeatedly undermined democratic processes in France to implement his unpopular neoliberal reforms.

As a former investment banker at Rothschild, Macron envisions the transformation and revitalization of France through a Silicon-Valley-style neoliberalism, which embraces the “creative destruction” theory of Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter. And, as a graduate student of the elite National School of Administration and a former finance minister, he also envisions governance through the lens of a French technocrat, who believes in the verticality and centralization of power.

Both perspectives reflect a thin conception of representative democracy — one that puts the supposed needs of the market over popular deliberation and participation.

Extreme Centrism

In his presidential campaign book Revolution, Emmanuel Macron blames the inaction, disconnection, and elitism of traditional French political parties for the rise of extremism and democratic decline. Running as a “neither right nor left” independent, the former investment banker promised to transcend this traditional divide to modernize and transform the French political and economic system into a “startup nation” driven by innovation and a “spirit of conquest.”

His first year of presidency, however, has proven that he is neither a centrist nor an avant-garde leader, but rather an old-fashioned, right-leaning neoliberal determined to overhaul France’s hard-won social model under the guise of modernism and emancipation.

In an interview with Les Inrockuptibles, Canadian intellectual Alain Deneault describes Macron’s governing style as “extreme centrism.” If this label sounds like an oxymoron, Deneault argues that Macron’s political approach is extreme in the sense that “its policies are destructive, unfair, and imperialistic. They consist of maximizing the profits of big corporations and shareholders, and facilitating access to tax havens.” Macron’s regime is also extreme from a moral standpoint, because it uses “intimidating discourses” and is “intolerant towards anything that is not its own,” Deneault adds.

Deneault compares Macron and his party, La Republique En Marche (The Republic on the Move), to an “ideological steamroller which aims at convincing people that there is an imperious urgency — without taking the time to debate — to apply a political vision, his specifically.”

Indeed, Macron has been using his executive privileges to rule by decree and bypass parliament to speed through often unpopular reforms. Aiming to make France friendlier to the globalized business elite, he enacted “pro-business” labor laws making it easier for employers to hire and fire employees, slashed the corporate tax rate from 32 percent to 25 percent, and scrapped the longstanding impôt sur la fortune, or wealth tax, which taxed non-professional net wealth above about $1.5 million.

During a recent interview with the business magazine Forbes, Macron announced that he plans on repealing the 30 percent “exit tax” implemented in 2014 to discourage tax evasion. “People are free to invest where they want,” Macron told Forbes. He then compared the economy to a marriage: “If you are able to attract, good for you, but if not, one should be free to divorce.”

Partly in response to the Fourth Railway Package, an EU-led mission which aims to “revitalize the rail sector and make it more competitive vis-a-vis other modes of transport,” the French government pushed through major reforms of the state-owned rail operator SNCF. This controversial move has sparked fierce protests from unions, who have been fighting back with nationwide rolling strikes since March.

Chris Wallace asked the French president on Fox News Sunday if he would back down in the face of the increasing opposition. Macron firmly stated, “No chance.”

When asked why he won’t yield, Macron repeatedly uses a variation on Margaret Thatcher’s famous slogan, “There is no alternative,” which becomes in Macron’s mouth: “There is no other choice.” The slogan is slightly different, but the idea is the same. His neoliberal reforms aren’t presented as policy choices, but as an essential and natural step in the course of French history that cannot be altered.

On June 14, the French Senate overwhelmingly agreed to turn the SNCF into a joint-stock company and scrape some of the rail workers’ employment benefits. Unions fear it’s the first step toward full privatization.

New Binarism

Macron hasn’t transcended the traditional left-right dichotomy he deemed archaic. Instead, he replaced it with a new binary that divides the world between those he calls the “backward-looking conservatives” and those, like him, who are “progressives reformers who embrace modernism.” If you’re not part of the latter camp, then you will be squeezed out.

This binarism comes out frequently in his speeches. Recently he described a train station as a place where you meet “those who succeed” and “those who are nothing.” He often describes those who oppose his neoliberal reforms as “slackers and cynics.” In other speeches, he pits “the doers” against “the do-nothings,” the “rationals” versus the “ideologues,” or the “optimistic globalists” against the “reactionary populists.”

In sum, Macronism doesn’t transcend political divides, but instead redefines them as a battle between “progressive modernists” and “reactionary slackers.” Hiding behind the argument of rationalism and efficiency, Macronism seeks to “fix” the economy by cozying up to a tiny wealthy elite who has been binge-eating resources and capturing wealth at shocking rates.

Although top income shares have increased much more in the US than in France, French economist Thomas Piketty argues that France has not been exempt from rising inequality. His new study on income inequality in France shows that “between 1983 and 2015, the average income of the richest 1 percent has risen by 100 percent (above inflation), and that of the 0.1 percent richest by 150 percent, as compared with barely 25 percent for the rest of the population.”

In the meantime, at the global level, “the top 1 percent richest individuals in the world captured twice as much growth as the bottom 50 percent individuals since 1980,” according to the 2018 World Inequality report. Trickle-down economics clearly work — for the rich.

In the world of Macronism, pluralism isn’t the essence of a functioning democracy, efficiency is. In the world of Macronism, the democratic debate is reduced to a thumbs up/thumbs down activity. In the world of Macronism there is no other choice but Macronism.

The post Emmanuel Macron’s “Extreme Centrism” Is a Threat to Democracy appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Women in Asia Are Confronting Fracking in the US to Eliminate Plastic Byproducts

Truth Out - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 14:10

Heaps of plastic waste cover the shores of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Myrna Dominguez remembers when an abundance of fish inhabited its waters — locals would catch enough to feed their families and sell at the market. Today, she says, they are catching more plastic than fish.

“We’re very afraid that if this is not addressed, the bay, which 100,000 small fishers rely on, will no longer be viable for them,” Dominguez says.

In May, Dominguez and Indian labor organizer Lakshmi Narayan visited communities in the US that are affected by pollution from oil extraction and plastic production, to show the effects that these processes have on communities overseas. The “Stopping Plastic Where It Starts Tour,” organized by #Breakfreefromplastic and Earthworks, is part of a project that aims to reduce plastic consumption and production by raising awareness about the impacts of plastic production on the communities at either end of its supply chain.

Dominguez and Narayan, representing communities in Asia experiencing the effects of plastic pollution, visited places in the US experiencing the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) oil and gas production — an industry that is producing the raw materials to build plastic.

Dominguez is the policy and advocacy adviser of the Asia Pacific Network on Food Sovereignty, which campaigns to protect the rights of small food producers such as fishers and farmers, and to preserve fishing grounds and cultural lands of indigenous communities.

Narayan is the co-founder of Solid Waste and Collection Handling, a cooperative of waste-pickers in Pune, India, who collect waste throughout the city and separate it into categories for proper disposal.

Both women represent groups from Asian countries that are dealing with the effects of plastic pollution — particularly plastic that is produced and distributed by US companies.

“I’m hoping this tour will change American people’s views of how they live every day, and how it impacts poor countries like us,” Dominguez says. “If America gets a cold, the Philippines gets the flu. We’re very dependent on the US, so whatever happens here affects us too.”

The Philippines is the third largest ocean plastic polluter in the world — it also has the most persistent poverty rate in Southeast Asia. In 2017, the US was the third largest plastic exporter in the world, exporting $6.8 billion worth of plastic items.

Single-use plastic products, such as straws and other utensils — and products packaged in plastic, including toiletries and food — are produced by transnational companies and marketed to people in places like the Philippines at low costs. The plastic waste from these products ends up in landfills or marine areas like Manila Bay.

Plastic manufacturers are not responsible for the disposal of their products, so the burden is placed on people in the Philippines, who do not have the resources to properly dispose of all the waste, Dominguez says.

“People have realized there’s no easy, technological solution to the problem of ocean plastic waste, and the only way to stop ocean plastic is to stop plastic,” says Jennifer Krill. Krill is the executive director of Earthworks, an environmental and social justice organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the impacts of mining and energy extraction.

“If we were to somehow recover all that waste from the ocean, we would still have to put it in a landfill or in an incinerator, and there would be significant environmental impacts from those solutions. The better solution would be to not make so much of it to begin with.”

That’s why Dominguez and Narayan traveled to the US, where the women visited communities affected by fracking. In the US, a fracking boom is helping fuel plastic production worldwide by providing a necessary building block of plastic: ethane. Dominguez and Narayan visited communities experiencing the impacts of fracking in Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. They also visited Washington DC

In Texas, for example, a major fracking boom is underway. A new report by IHS Markit shows the Permian Basin in West Texas is expecting a surge in oil production — more than double by 2023 — in large part because of fracking, which has made trapped oil and gas accessible.

Fracking involves pumping water, sand, and chemicals underground to release gas and oil from rock. The shale formations used for extracting oil and gas in the US are high in ethane, which is wasted in the extraction process unless the industry has a way to bring it to market.

“Currently what we’re seeing is a major build-out of new petrochemical manufacturing in order for the industry to recover that waste ethane and convert it into plastic, most of which is also going to become waste, but along the way they’ll make a lot of money manufacturing it into plastic,” Krill says.

In 2017, the US consumed around 1.2 million barrels of ethane per day, and exported around 180,000 barrels per day to countries overseas.

Earthworks — one of the organizations that organized the tour — has recently introduced a Community Empowerment Project to provide communities near oil and gas facilities with data on methane and ethane pollution from nearby oil and gas extraction sites by using an optical gas imaging camera that makes invisible ethane — and methane — pollution from these sites visible.

Not only does methane and ethane pollution contribute to climate change, but it also causes health issues for people who live near oil and gas facilities — in the US, that’s more than 17 million people.

Residents who live near these facilities have reported experiencing respiratory problems such as asthma and coughing, eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and fatigue.

The organization has been taking the camera to oil and gas wells, pipelines, and compressor stations to show government regulators and companies that the methane and ethane pollution problem is real. Gas imaging videos are available on Earthworks’ YouTube channel for citizens to use as evidence when urging regulators in their states to require operators clean up the gas waste.

“It hasn’t stopped pollution — it hasn’t been as effective as we’d like it to be yet,” Krill says about the project. But she hopes it will be. “The industry likes to say ‘There’s no pollution, we’re very clean,’ and with this video evidence it’s hard to deny that there’s a serious problem with oil and gas extraction.”

On a global scale, the #Breakfreefromplastic movement, made up of 1,000 organizations worldwide, has been focused on creating “zero-waste cities” in Malaysia, India, and the Philippines — teaching communities about separating organic from inorganic waste, composting, and recycling.

Narayan, who represents the waste-pickers who collect and separate waste in Pune, India, says the process of recycling plastics into reusable materials is so expensive that the waste is often not recyclable at all.

#Breakfreefromplastic also focuses on making the public aware of their consumption habits in hopes of reducing the use of one-use plastic products, and pushing for “corporate accountability,” says Jed Alegado, the Asia Pacific communications officer for #Breakfreefromplastic.

“Corporations that have the money to come up with these products should invest in more sustainable and ecological distribution systems for their products,” Alegado says. “They shouldn’t pass the burden to consumers and governments for the plastic waste they are creating.”

Growing up in the Philippines, Dominguez recalls using coconut shells as plates, and eating food with her bare hands — before large companies had convinced the world that plastic products are a necessity, she says.

Dominguez is optimistic that change can occur by educating and inspiring people to reduce their use of plastic products and become vocal about how the government handles waste.

“If we are going to stop plastic we need to stop plastic where it starts,” Krill says. “We can’t let greed get in the way of common sense and sustainability.”

The post Women in Asia Are Confronting Fracking in the US to Eliminate Plastic Byproducts appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Nigel Farage leads critics condemning huge 'Trump baby' blimp that will soar over London while the President visits UK

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:45

'The biggest insult to a sitting US president ever': Nigel Farage leads critics condemning huge 'Trump baby' blimp that will soar over London while the President visits UK | 06 July 2018 | Nigel Farage has claimed anti-Trump protestors' plans to fly a blimp portraying Donald Trump as a big baby is the 'biggest insult to a sitting US president ever'. Mr Farage aimed his criticism at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who granted permission for the 20ft inflatable to fly above Parliament Square Gardens on July 13. The former UKIP leader weighed in on the debate on Thursday, saying allowing the blimp to fly during Trump's visit was 'a step too far' and 'ridiculous'.

Categories: News

Black Athletes Have Been Involved in the Political Struggle From the Beginning

Truth Out - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:39
Janine Jackson interviewed Howard Bryant about African-American athletes and activism for the June 15, 2018, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Janine Jackson: When Colin Kaepernick wanted to join thousands of other Americans in expressing his outrage and sorrow at the killing of black people by police, the San Francisco 49er spoke with — among others — Nate Boyer, another football player for the Seattle Seahawks, who was a Green Beret. Boyer suggested that rather than sit out the national anthem, Kaepernick take a knee — the way, he said, soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, as a way to express dissent without disrespect for the military or veterans.

That critics, including in the press, would describe Kaepernick’s gesture as a refusal to stand, an insolent refusal to act rather than an action consciously chosen, is telling; much as many people still believe Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus because her feet were tired. Like Parks, Kaepernick is in fact engaged in thoughtful, political action — in his case, the particular expression of political action that African-American athletes have engaged for decades, known informally as “the Heritage.”

That history and its meaning in the present moment is the subject of a new book, The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism, out now from Beacon Press. Our next guest is its author. Howard Bryant is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, and sports correspondent for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. He’s also author of, among other titles, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston and The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron. He joins us now by phone from Massachusetts. Welcome to CounterSpin, Howard Bryant.

Howard Bryant: Thank you, Janine. How are you?

I’m well, thanks. Well, I appreciate the way that the book enmeshes sports history in social history: Three days after Michael Jordan’s NBA debut in 1984 was the day the NYPD killed Eleanor Bumpurs, a 66-year-old black woman with mental illness, for instance. Generally, the media separate sports, literally and figuratively, from everything else that’s happening. It’s an escape, it’s a different world, and — key to the story you tell — sports, Americans tell themselves, is a meritocracy: We may have racial injustice in society, but by golly, on the field all that matters is, Can you run, or throw, or hit?

This idea that the job of the black athlete is, in some ways, to advertise US equality, that’s there from the beginning of the history of the Heritage, isn’t it?

It sure has been. And I think one of the things that’s been really interesting in trying to figure out how to tell this type of story — because there’s so much to it — is, where do you start and how do you put this together? And for me, the genesis of this had been this revival of this Heritage. If you’re of a certain age, you remember Muhammad Ali, and you remember the memories, of course, of Jackie Robinson, and you remember Bill Russell and all of these athletes, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, in the ’68 Olympics; you remember these players being very prominent, and you remember them being advocates for African-Americans.

If you’re of a different generation, if you were, say, born in the ’80s or even the ’90s, this revival — the appearance of athletes taking a political stance, being involved in their community, being involved in social issues on a national level — is completely foreign, because you grew up with the Michael Jordans and Tiger Woods being the model. So for me, what I thought was interesting and important was to remind people that the black athlete has been involved in the political struggle from the beginning, and that these players have had a very special place in American history.

The argument that I make in the book is that the black athlete is the most important and most influential and most visible black employee in the 20th century, because they’re the ones who were allowed to integrate the society, whether it was the military, whether it was education, whether it was swimming pools, it was the ball players who came first. And because of that, they’ve had a responsibility to stand up and to advocate. So we recognize it when they’re not there, and we remember them when they are.

And with that comes this bind, this visibility as a real representation of integration, and yet still being a black American. And in terms of the history and the beginning, I think a lot of folks would be very, very surprised to hear that it starts with Paul Robeson.

Absolutely, it starts with Paul Robeson, and of course people don’t realize that he played in the National Football League. He played football before he was the great baritone, before he was the great singer and the great actor and the great activist. And one of the only reasons that he left professional football was because the National Football League was integrated, and then it chose segregation until 1946.

So when he played in 1921 and 1922, football was integrated, and then by 1923, no blacks were allowed to play in the NFL for another quarter century.

It wasn’t just Robeson to me that I gravitated toward when tracing this Heritage, it was also the fact that the African-American athletes’ political roots did not start with black issues. It started with Jewish issues. It started with World War II. It started with American athletes being asked to defend America against Nazism, and Jewish athletes asking for solidarity against the Berlin Olympics in 1936, and also, of course, asking Jackie Robinson to denounce Paul Robeson in 1949, in support of America during the Cold War.

So it wasn’t until much later, it wasn’t until you had Robinson in that testimony, receiving all of the attention for his denouncing Paul Robeson, but also inside of that testimony, he talked about inequality and police brutality and mistreatment of African-Americans and fairness, and all of these things that would become the foundations of this Heritage. It started with Robinson, but not along racial lines to begin with; it started with defending America.

I find Robinson’s HUAC testimony to be maybe the most moving part of the book, and such a clear — first of all, a thing that’s so misremembered.

Completely. We chose to emphasize the parts that made America feel good. Which was, “See, Jackie Robinson is a real American, because he denounced Paul Robeson, the bad Negro Communist.” I don’t even think we misremembered everything; we just chose to ignore it. And when I started to read that testimony, when I was doing the research, I was wondering, “Did I know this?” I think I kind of knew this, but maybe I really didn’t, either.

Right.

And that’s what we do. We decide to omit. One of the great favorite colleagues and the great writer David Maraniss once said to me that, “History writes people out of the story, and it’s our job to write them back in,” and I think that Robinson testimony is something that needed to be written back in.

Absolutely.

Well, history’s moving along, and owners and teams are aware that integration is happening, but I like how you note that this idea that became popular, and still holds sway, that, “Oh, they’re only looking for the best players,” that that was fiction, always. And there’s this note that Earl Wilson, when Earl Wilson was signed to the Boston Red Sox, the scouting report described him as a “well-mannered colored boy, not too black, pleasant to talk to.”

So you have this story of integration. But then, black athletes are making money — and some of them are making a tremendous amount of money — and so that gives them a bigger megaphone, and at the same time, more calls not to use it.

For caution, absolutely, and I think that’s this tension that the black athlete has that even other black entertainers don’t have. Why are we now talking about Oprah Winfrey as a potential presidential candidate? Because she has money. We talk about Mark Cuban as a presidential candidate or Donald Trump as president or Michael Bloomberg as the mayor of New York, because they were all rich. When it comes to the black athlete, though, what we want from them in exchange for the money is silence.

We don’t want to hear from them. We want them to be quiet. We want them to shut up and play, or shut up and dribble, and this is the one area where money is not affording you a bigger voice. And that goes back to this very interesting relationship that we tend to have with our sports figures. That there’s an ownership to them, that they don’t necessarily get to be citizens. Their job is to entertain us.

And I think that’s one of the areas where this Heritage has become so polarizing in a lot of ways, is this feeling of ownership is now colliding with the fact that you have this new generation of black athletes — post–Trayvon Martin, post-Ferguson, post–Eric Garner and Sandra Bland — who are now citizens, especially thanks to the prevalence of social media. They’re watching these viral videos, just like the rest of us are, on YouTube, and they’re looking at this dashcam footage.

And one of the things that one of the players, Tavon Austin, had said, who played for the St. Louis Rams, when he came out in 2014 with the “hands up don’t shoot gesture” before a game, was:

It’s hard for me to go back to my community knowing that this is going on, knowing that I’ve got a platform, and all my friends and family are looking at me, going, “People listen to you and you’re not saying anything.”

That’s the Heritage.

One of the things that happens in between the ’60s, obviously and the present moment, a big thing that happens is September 11, 2001.

Absolutely. 9/11 is the key to me, and once again, we talk about generations. If you are of a certain generation, if you’re from my generation (I was born in 1968), if you are of my generation, you were shaped by the Cold War. The Olympics were charged, obviously, because of the United States and the USSR. Everything was Cold War–based, whether it was an arms race, whether it was sports, no matter what it was, you were shaped along the framework of the United States and the Russians.

If you were born in 1985 or 1990, you were 10 or 11 years old, or 15–16 years old, on September 11. So therefore, the packaging of sports, this is what you know, this is all you know. If you’re my son, who was born in 2004, this is how he sees the society being sold, packaged through flags and flyovers and soldiers and nationalism and support of the troops, and the conflation of police with military.

And so now when you watch a sporting event, on the one hand, you see flags and you see police singing the national anthem, and you see camera shots of all of this law enforcement, and you have dozens of law enforcement appreciation nights at the ballpark. And at the same time, you have LeBron James talkingabout police brutality, and Carmelo Anthony walking arm-in-arm with his fellow Baltimore natives after Freddie Gray was killed. And so you’ve got this collision between post-9/11 packaging and selling of sports at the ballpark, and the post-Ferguson black athlete, and that’s really at its core what this book is about.

And when we talk about selling, as you make clear in the book, immediately post–September 11, a lot of it really was selling, it really was the Defense Department using these sporting events to recruit.

Absolutely. One hundred percent. I had a conversation with a three-star general, Russel Honoré, who was tremendous in trying to get the clean-up and the restoration after Hurricane Katrina back on track after all of that disaster.

And the general and I had a very long conversation about this, about the Pentagon using sports as a recruiting tool, and the sports leagues themselves charging the National Guards and the Department of Defense to put on these inauthentic displays of patriotism — whether it was the surprise homecomings or the flags or the singing of “God Bless America” — that all of these different acts were being charged as services by the sports teams to the National Guards across the country, and they didn’t tell anybody. It was a deception. It wasn’t until John McCain and Jeff Flake, the two Arizona Republican senators, came out with their report talking about how inauthentic and what a deception this was, that taxpayer dollars were being used for these sort of phony displays.

And I asked the general, and I said, “Well, you know, maybe I just want my 12-year-old to be a kid. Maybe when he goes to a Red Sox game, I just want him to enjoy the game and that’s it. I don’t want him to be surreptitiously recruited by the Army.”

General Honoré said, “Well, that’s too bad. I tell the parents, hold on to those little SOBs as long as you can, because we need them to man the force. And maybe there’s going to be some kid who goes to a Dallas Cowboys game and looks up and sees an F-14 flying over before the game, that’s going to motivate him to join the service.” That’s where we are right now.

And so one of the interesting reactions that I’ve gotten from this has been twofold. One is, “Well, yeah, the Army should do this, this is what we need to do, this is where we are.” Another response has been, “Well, OK, paid patriotism is a deception. There’s no question about that, that it’s not organic. We know that, that these teams are taking money, but it’s a harmless deception, because it’s for the right reasons.” And I find that to be so incongruous; if it’s for the right reasons, if it’s supposed to be noble, then why are we deceiving the public? It’s a really interesting place we’re in right now.

And who is getting to decide that that is the right reason?

And who gets to decide, and that’s the other thing I very much enjoyed in the book, especially in the middle chapters. The original title of this book was War Games, it was not The Heritage; it was War Games. I think the subtitle was The Players, The Flag and Protest in a Militarized America. That was the original title, but as we started to go back, I began to realize, I didn’t want to assume how much of this Heritage people knew. I realized that I had to keep it to the ballplayers, and I put the war games section of the book in the middle.

And one of the things that I really enjoyed about this section was talking to veterans and hearing veterans say, “We don’t want to be treated as props.” And chapter 7 of the book is titled “Props,” where veterans talk about not wanting to be used by these sports teams to sell camo jerseys and to sell their sports teams and to make billionaires even richer. The players themselves, some of them have issues with it, but the veterans are the ones who to me are really the conscience of those sections, because they know better. They don’t want to be used by these billion-dollar sports teams to sell a product.

Well, yes, this is social history. I hope folks won’t pick it up looking for play-by-plays.

There’s no play-by-play in this book.

But then, as you’ve said, there is this conflation that happens, of the military with the police, and that brings us to today. But then this funny idea that folks like Kaepernick, that folks who take a knee, that when LeBron wears an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt, that that is introducing politics into sports.

That’s right. And that is a very interesting dance that people have negotiated with themselves. That when you see Colin Kaepernick…. In fact, ESPN hired a focus group with the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, and Luntz went and asked these people in this focus group, because the ratings went down dramatically when there were images of Colin Kaepernick on the field, and he would ask them why was the reaction to Kaepernick so visceral and so strong, and their reaction was, “Well, we don’t want politics in our sports.”

And then Luntz said to the focus group, “Well, that’s a little disingenuous, isn’t it? Because the ratings went very high when we showed you flags and we showed you soldiers and you saw jets and things at the ballpark.” And the reaction from the focus group was, “Well, that’s not politics; that’s patriotism.” So the sports fan has made a negotiation; they’ve actually partitioned politics from patriotism, and they believe this, even though I don’t think there’s anything more political than a country’s flag.

I guess as a critic I do lay some of this at media’s feet. I always remember a quote from USA Today, which I wish I had in front of me, but it was about people demonstrating about trade agreements. And they said that these agreements, although they haven’t interested “the public,” they’ve galvanized “activists” around the world. And I loved that sort of linguistic sleight-of-hand that, as the public, fine, you can have an opinion, but once you get together with others, once you go out into the street, once you demonstrate an opinion, well, you’re an activist.

You’re still a citizen. You’re still the public. It’s the same thing.

I want to highlight how many stories in the book are not Colin Kaepernick. There’s Toni Smith-Thompson, the college basketball player who turned her back on the anthem in 2002; there’s the Detroit Piston, whose name is escaping me, who went on a hunger strike in ‘93.

Olden Polynice.

Olden Polynice, exactly. But in a way, The Heritage is about, the bigger the spotlight, in a way, on the athlete, and what do they do with it? So now we’re in 2018. The NFL’s response to Kaep versus Trump is to say, you have to stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room or otherwise you’re fined, and the Eagles are disinvited to the White House, where they weren’t going anyway. It’s not that we haven’t come forward, or that things haven’t changed, but so much of the push and pull feels very familiar.

It does. I think the tension in the book, to me, has always been “black body over black brain.” This tension in and of itself is, in a lot of ways, the book. Because the reason why we still look to these athletes is because the black brain is not being respected and being exploited and being encouraged nearly as much as the black body. We still look to these athletes and we still look to these entertainers and we still look to these singers and everyone, even at a time when this entire notion of a Heritage, and this entire notion of athletics, was supposed to open the door to education, and to open the door to these other pursuits.

So you didn’t have to look at a Jackie Robinson as your leader. You could look at a doctor, a lawyer, a senator, the same way you do with other races. At a time when you’re looking at these athletes, who are making incredible amounts of money, more than they ever have, but at the same time, they’re coming out of college less and less and less educated. So that tension leaves you with the players still; we still look to LeBron James to be the peacemaker, and we look to Dwyane Wade, and we look to these players to, now, because they’re so tied with these mega-corporations, we look to them to sort of be the bridge between black and white, which is very different than the Muhammad Ali days, where they were straight advocates for African-Americans.

So at the same time when you have “shut up and dribble,” you have player prominence becoming greater and greater and greater, and you just wonder if that time is going to come when the player recedes and then the intellectual, the black intellectual, can take over, where I think they always should have been in the first place.

Let me ask you what kind of reaction you’re getting. I think you’re pretty early in taking this book around, but what kind of reaction do you expect to get, and what sorts of conversations are you looking to spur here?

The reaction that I get has been very similar to the reactions that I always tend to get when I do these projects. One is there’s the immediate shouting: “Oh, well, you’re attacking the police,” and “Oh, this is going to be controversial,” and “Oh, you’re never going to work again, and no one’s going to take an interest in this.” That’s always the initial reaction.

And then the book comes out and then people start reading, and then we start discussing. We start discussing how we feel about patriotism. We start discussing the president essentially trying to deny citizenship of Americans for protesting. We discuss how we feel about our civil liberties being attacked, or essentially turning sporting events into nationalistic pep rallies.

And now all of a sudden, you get a different response, and that response is, you’ve got good-thinking citizens of all stripes, and they’re saying, “It’s about time. It’s about time we actually talk about this.” And so that’s always been the rewarding thing, and I think to me, the conversations that I always try to spur when I do any project, is to think about who we are and to think about where we are in this country, and to always consider the accountability factor of the people who are pulling the strings here. The power of the corporation, whether it’s a sports league or whether it’s the military and the Department of Defense, that the power that these institutions have, is steering us in ways, and we’re not even paying attention.

The one thing, Janine, that I’ve been fascinated and somewhat disappointed about, but also encouraged, because maybe we can think about these things more, is the number of people, almost 20 years post-9/11, who devour sports and see the flag at the 50-yard line, and they see the Law Enforcement Appreciation Days, and they know the paid patriotism story, that this was a deception. But then when it all gets put together, they say, “I never thought of it that way.” So hopefully, we’ll do a little bit more thinking, and we’ll see what some of these institutions are doing to us, and how they’re trying to manipulate us.

We’ve been speaking with Howard Bryant. The new book is The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism. It’s out now from Beacon Press. Howard Bryant, thank you so much for joining us this week on CounterSpin.

Oh, my pleasure. Thank you.

The post Black Athletes Have Been Involved in the Political Struggle From the Beginning appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

Two Weeks After “Ending” Family Separation, Parents Still Can’t Contact Their Children

Truth Out - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:39

Los Fresnos, Texas — Calling from an unreliable phone at the Port Isabel Detention Center, her voice sounds muffled, and far away. To be understood, she needs to keep repeating herself. For her to hear the person calling, they need to yell.

Blanca wishes more than anything else that it was her two daughters, ages 6 and 14, on the other end of the line. But she hasn’t spoken to them since they were separated at the border, after a long journey from Honduras. It’s been almost three weeks.

To arrange calls at the facility run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, parents need to fill out a request form. Blanca says she has submitted five.

“This is maddening,” she said. “The officials, they don’t say anything.”

As President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, which separated more than 2,500 children from their parents at the border in May and June, stretches into its third month, the administration has to contend with some impending deadlines, set by a judge last week after the American Civil Liberties Union sued. By July 10, children under 5 must be reunited with their parents. By July 26, all families must be together. By Friday, officials must arrange phone calls between all parents and children.

But a week after Department of Homeland Security officials called their process to reunify families “well-coordinated,” many parents at Port Isabel — the primary facility housing separated parents — don’t know where their children are and some still haven’t been able to reach their kids, according to three detainees interviewed by ProPublica, along with two family members of parents inside and five lawyers granted broader access to the facility, who say they have interviewed more than 200 separated parents and guardians. ProPublica is not including the detainees’ last names at their request; their immigration cases are still pending.

“I just want to tell my son I love him,” sobbed Arely, a mother from El Salvador, during a phone call with a reporter. She, too, had been in detention almost three weeks without a call.

ICE did not immediately respond to questions posed Friday about parents not being able to speak with their children, and being in the dark about their whereabouts. It did not respond to additional questions posed Sunday about how many separated parents are being held at Port Isabel, how many have been able to speak with their kids, and whether any have been released on bond.

The parents wait in a detention center where the telephones barely work, there’s no internet, and officers shut off the TV news when the topic turns to immigration, the detainees said. Phone conversations are guarded — detainees know calls are recorded. Rumors are what’s left. There was one about detention officers urging people to sign deportation papers as the quickest way to see their kids again. It’s made detainees wary about signing any piece of paper, even when it comes from lawyers offering to help connect them with their kids, said Sophia Gregg, an immigration lawyer at Legal Aid Justice.

When she and a group of lawyers came from Washington, D.C., to conduct outreach interviews with the parents two weeks ago, many parents overcame their distrust enough to pass them letters, in hopes that the lawyers would find their children and deliver the messages. ProPublica reviewed a portion of the letters.

In one, a father tries to reassure his daughter. Don’t worry, because I am with you. I want to ask you to eat well, and if you eat well, then I will be happy.

In another, a mother apologizes to her daughter, for putting you in this situation that is so difficult … I just pray to God that you are well, because I am suffering a lot for you. I want this nightmare to end already, my love.

No one outside DHS knows for sure how many separated parents are inside Port Isabel. Unlike some other immigrant detention facilities, this one does not make detainee information public, so the lawyers say it has taken extra work to reach parents. The lawyers who visited two weeks ago started with a small list of parents whose names they knew. Word of mouth within the dorms brought out more who previously had no contact with lawyers and no family members on the outside to help them.

The lawyers say they now have a list of more than 200 separated parents from Port Isabel. They hope a new database launched by the Vera Institute and New America will help reconnect the families.

When the lawyers first began reaching out to parents about three weeks ago, some told them they had been kept apart from their kids for days, others for close to a month. “ICE never came and talked to them and even asked if they were separated from their child,” said Jodi Goodwin, a local immigration lawyer. “Literally, there was zero communication at all.”

In conversations with the lawyers, parents weighed the decisions they’d have to make: Continue an asylum claim or choose deportation, hoping the US government would stand by its word to reunite them with their children? If they lost their asylum claims, would they ask their children to give up theirs, too, or try to place them with family members in the US? Some worried that their children were too young or did not know enough to accurately describe the danger in their home countries, especially after their parents had done their best to shield them from it. Such details are crucial to winning asylum cases.

Natasha Quiroga, an education civil rights lawyer who flew in from Washington to volunteer, said the stories flowed together: The mom concerned about her 7-year-old who is deaf and mute; the dad who had just signed his deportation orders, hoping it meant he would be reunified with his 4-year-old; the father who had no idea where his daughter was, and wanted to write a letter to her, but did not know how to write. Quiroga wrote the letter for him, transcribing as he repeated the same sentence over and over, telling her how much he loves her and how much he hopes to see her soon.

Such opportunities for contact with outsiders are rare at Port Isabel. The facility is tucked away down remote rural roads on Texas’ southeastern tip, making it difficult for lawyers to maintain a consistent presence.

Trying to coordinate speaking with a detainee from outside is also difficult. ProPublica was able to arrange calls with three detained parents with the help of lawyers and a family member who contacted ProPublica about a relative’s case. People on the outside can call and leave messages asking a detainee to call them back, but cannot call a detainee directly. So parents call outsiders back at unexpected times. You must be available to pick up and sometimes have your credit card handy to pay for the call, or else lose the chance. Once on the line, their phones sometimes break up and lose service unexpectedly.

For those inside Port Isabel, access to information is limited, detainees said. After their plight became national news, detainees say televisions began to show only telenovelas and English programming. Parents said they weren’t aware of the court order on reunification until they heard from lawyers. Jenn Elzea, a spokesperson for ICE, said that only some televisions in the facility are controlled by detention staff. “They do have access, in theory, to television throughout the facility,” she said. ICE Detention standard guidelines say, “All television viewing schedules shall be subject to the facility administrator’s approval.”

Goodwin, one of the lawyers, said ICE confiscated letters addressed to detainees by reporters, and pulled three intended recipients out of their dorms to ask, “Why does this person have your name? Where did they get your information?”

ICE did not immediately respond to questions about this posed on Sunday.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada toured the facility last week and offered their assessments. “It’s clear … They’re not running a reunification process here,” Warren said. In response, ICE promised to set up phone calls for every separated parent to speak to their children, lawyers said. ICE has also clarified that physical reunifications will not be taking place at Port Isabel, a detention center where children are not allowed to be held. “We are reuniting people via communication,” said Elzea.

And so, this past week, a trickle of officially coordinated phone calls slowly began. Parents were called one by one to small visitation rooms to hear their children’s voices for a few minutes.

“An officer would dial the number, make sure the Office of Refugee Resettlement employee was on the other line, and bring the parent to take the call,” said Ruby Powers, an immigration attorney based out of Houston who volunteered at Port Isabel this week. “You could just see tears of joy,” she said. “You can tell from a parent who has talked to a child and one who hasn’t … The parent who has, has a lot more peace.”

Some parents were so overcome with emotion during the brief calls, it didn’t cross their minds to ask their children where exactly they were, Quiroga said. Before they knew it, time was up.

Some calls were difficult for other reasons.

One mother told Goodwin her 6-year-old didn’t want to talk to her on the phone “porque me abandonaste, mamá” — because you abandoned me, mommy.

And Daisy, a 21-year-old separated from her 12-year-old brother, hung up feeling unsettled after a vague conversation, she told ProPublica. Normally hyperactive, he answered her in monosyllables.

“How are you?” Daisy asked. Good, he said.

“How’s it going?” Fine.

“Are you eating well?” Yes.

“Are you having any fun there?” Yeah.

She said she brought her brother to the US border from Honduras after their mother died. Their father was violent, she said, and she felt she was the only person looking out for him. Lawyers said they are worried the two may face even more roadblocks in trying to reunite, as Daisy is a sibling, not a mother.

“When I spoke with him, it’s not like when you have them near — I don’t know the truth,” Daisy said. “He says he is fine, but I won’t really know until I see him. Then I’ll know that he is well.”

Even when family members do connect, it’s far from clear what happens next in the hastily created reunification process.

The Department of Homeland Security appears to present deportation as the only path to reunification. The department’s zero tolerance fact sheet says “a parent who is ordered removed from the US may request that his or her minor child accompany them,” but says nothing about reunifying families during the immigration process and beyond. (Reporters have also documented cases of parents who were deported without their children, before the fact sheet was released.)

For those who hold out hope that they will be able to receive asylum protection in the US, this weekend brought a glimpse of what reunification might look like when a mother was releasedSaturday from a detention center in Arizona, after she passed the first step of her asylum claim.

Supporters helped her pay a $7,500 bond with a crowdfunding campaign and drove her to New York, where her three children — 6, 9, and 11 — had been placed in foster homes. She’ll be able to visit them as much as she wants from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but she can’t take custody of them while her asylum case is pending, The New York Times reported. A relative in North Carolina has applied to sponsor the children, but the mother probably won’t be able to live with them, because every adult in a sponsor’s home must be legally vetted.

At Port Isabel, lawyers say they know of no parents who have been released on bond into the US.

So Blanca waits, straining to hear what she can on her unreliable lifeline to the outside world. She said her sister-in-law told her that her daughters are now in a New York foster home. But a social worker told her sister-in-law the location is undisclosed, to protect the caregiver’s privacy.

Jess Ramirez contributed to this report.

The post Two Weeks After “Ending” Family Separation, Parents Still Can’t Contact Their Children appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

What Can We Expect From Trump on Morocco’s Occupation of Western Sahara?

Truth Out - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:36

President Trump appears to be looking the other way from Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara in the pursuit of World Cup politics.

The Associated Press recently reported that, “The 2026 World Cup contest has been engulfed in intrigue bout whether Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and foreign policy will cost North America votes. What’s barely talked about is the impact of a territorial conflict that is impeding Morocco’s bid.”

More plainly, this “territorial conflict” is barely being talked about, period.

President Obama, and now, a depleted US media, have essentially ignored Western Sahara’s brutal occupation by the Moroccan monarchy. Trump, however, could have a more moderate stance in this part of the world. But the administration’s domestic and foreign policies continue to appease a Republican Party and conservative base pushing a nativist and a “fly-by-night” policy orientation.

In this interview, Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, breaks down the Moroccan occupation and the prospects for moderation in this ongoing flashpoint.

Daniel Falcone: Can you provide a brief history of the Western Sahara?

Stephen Zunes: Western Sahara is a sparsely populated territory about the size of Colorado, located on the Atlantic coast in northwestern Africa, just south of Morocco. Traditionally inhabited by nomadic Arab tribes — collectively known as Sahrawis and famous for their long history of resistance to outside domination — the territory was occupied by Spain from the late 1800s through the mid-1970s.

With Spain holding onto the territory well over a decade after most African countries had achieved their freedom from European colonialism, the nationalist Polisario Front launched an armed independence struggle against Spain in 1973. This — along with pressure from the United Nations — eventually forced Madrid to promise the people of what was then still known as the “Spanish Sahara” a referendum on the fate of the territory by the end of 1975.

The International Court of Justice heard irredentist claims by Morocco and Mauritania, and ruled in October of 1975 that — despite pledges of fealty to the Moroccan sultan back in the 19th century by some tribal leaders bordering the territory, and close ethnic ties between some Sahrawi and Mauritanian tribes — the right of self-determination for the Sahrawis was paramount. A special visiting mission from the United Nations engaged in an investigation of the situation in the territory that same year, and reported that the vast majority of Sahrawis supported independence under the leadership of the Polisario, not integration with Morocco or Mauritania.

With Morocco threatening war with Spain, distracted by the imminent death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco, [the Spanish government] began receiving increasing pressure from the United States, which wanted to back its Moroccan ally, King Hassan II, and did not want to see the leftist Polisario come to power. As a result, Spain reneged on its promise of self-determination, and instead agreed in November 1975 to allow for Moroccan administration of the northern two-thirds of the Western Sahara and for Mauritanian administration of the southern third.

As Moroccan forces moved into Western Sahara, nearly half of the population fled into neighboring Algeria, where they and their descendants remain in refugee camps to this day. Morocco and Mauritania rejected a series of unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces and recognition of the Sahrawis’ right of self-determination. The United States and France, meanwhile, despite voting in favor of these resolutions, blocked the United Nations from enforcing them. At the same time, the Polisario — which had been driven from the more heavily populated northern and western parts of the country — declared independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

Thanks in part to the Algerians providing significant amounts of military equipment and economic support, Polisario guerrillas fought successfully against both occupying armies and defeated Mauritania by 1979, making them agree to turn their third of Western Sahara over to the Polisario. However, the Moroccans then annexed the remaining southern part of the country.

The Polisario then focused their armed struggle against Morocco, and by 1982 had liberated nearly 85 percent of their country. Over the next four years, however, the tide of the war turned in Morocco’s favor thanks to the United States and France dramatically increasing their support for the Moroccan war effort, with US forces providing important training for the Moroccan army in counter-insurgency tactics. In addition, the Americans and French helped Morocco construct a … “wall,” primarily consisting of two heavily fortified parallel sand berms, which eventually shut off more than three-quarters of Western Sahara — including virtually all of the territory’s major towns and natural resources — from the Polisario.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan government, through generous housing subsidies and other benefits, successfully encouraged thousands of Moroccan settlers — some of whom were from southern Morocco and of ethnic Sahrawi background — to immigrate to Western Sahara. By the early 1990s, these Moroccan settlers outnumbered the remaining Indigenous Sahrawis by a ratio of more than two-to-one.

While rarely able to penetrate into Moroccan-controlled territory, the Polisario continued regular assaults against Moroccan occupation forces stationed along the wall until 1991, when the United Nations ordered a cease-fire to be monitored by a … peacekeeping force known as the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. The agreement included provisions for the return of Sahrawi refugees to Western Sahara followed by a United Nations-supervised referendum on the fate of the territory, which would allow Sahrawis native to Western Sahara to vote either for independence or for integration with Morocco.

Neither the repatriation nor the referendum took place, however, due to the Moroccan insistence on stacking the voter rolls with Moroccan settlers and other Moroccan citizens whom [the Moroccan government] claimed had tribal links to the Western Sahara.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan enlisted former US Secretary of State James Baker as his special representative to help resolve the impasse. Morocco, however, continued to ignore repeated demands from the United Nations that it cooperate with the referendum process, and French and US threats of a veto prevented the Security Council from enforcing its mandate.

How would you describe the media coverage of the occupation by the US press?

Largely non-existent. When there is coverage, the Polisario Front and the movement within the occupied territory is often referred to as “secessionist” or “separatist” — a term normally used for nationalist movements within a country’s internationally recognized borders, which Western Sahara is not. Similarly, Western Sahara is often referred to as being a “disputed” territory, as if it were a boundary issue in which both parties have legitimate claims.

This comes despite the fact [that] the United Nations still formally recognizes Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, making it Africa’s last colony, and the UN General Assembly refers to it as an occupied territory. In addition, the SADR has been recognized as an independent country by more than 80 governments and [the SADR] has been a full member state of the African Union since 1984.

During the Cold War, the Polisario was inaccurately referred to as “Marxist” and, more recently, there have been articles repeating absurd and often contradictory Moroccan claims of Polisario links to al-Qaeda, Iran, ISIS and other extremists. This comes despite the fact that the Sahrawis, while devout Muslims, practice a relatively liberal interpretation of the faith: Women are in prominent positions of leadership, and they have never engaged in “terrorism” — even during the armed struggle.

The mainstream media [have] always had a hard time accepting the idea that a nationalist movement opposed by the United States — particularly a Muslim and Arab struggle — can be largely democratic, secular and nonviolent.

Obama seemed to drastically ignore Morocco’s illegal occupation. Has Trump helped to intensify the humanitarian crisis in the region?

To Obama’s credit, he did back away somewhat from the openly pro-Moroccan policies of the Reagan, Clinton and Bush administrations to a more neutral stance; fought off bipartisan efforts in Congress to effectively legitimize the Moroccan occupation; and pushed Morocco to improve the human rights situation. His intervention likely saved the life of Aminatou Haidar, the Sahrawi woman who led the nonviolent self-determination struggle in the face of repeated arrests, imprisonment and torture. However, he did little to pressure the Moroccan regime to end the occupation and allow for self-determination.

Trump’s policies have been unclear. His State Department has issued some statements which appear to recognize Moroccan sovereignty, but his new National Security Adviser John Bolton — despite his extreme views on many issues — served for a time on a United Nations team focused on Western Sahara, and has a strong distaste for the Moroccans and their policies, so he may influence Trump to take a more moderate stance.

Can you talk about how the US two-party system reinforces the Moroccan monarchy and neoliberal agenda?

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have supported Morocco, often depicted as a “moderate” Arab country (in terms of supporting US foreign policy goals and welcoming a neoliberal model of development). The Moroccan regime has been rewarded with generous foreign aid, a free trade agreement and major non-NATO ally status. Both George W. Bush as president and Hillary Clinton as secretary of state repeatedly showered praise on the autocratic Moroccan monarch Mohammed VI, not only ignoring the occupation, but largely dismissing the regime’s human rights abuses, corruption, and the gross inequality and lack of many basic services its policies have inflicted on the Moroccan people.

The Clinton Foundation welcomed the offer by Office Cherifien des Phosphates, a regime-owned mining company illegally exploiting phosphate reserves in the occupied Western Sahara, to be the primary donor to the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative conference in Marrakech. A series of resolutions and Dear Colleague letters supported by a broad bipartisan majority of Congress have endorsed Morocco’s proposal for recognition of the annexation of Western Sahara in exchange for a vague and limited “autonomy” plan.

There are a handful of members of Congress who have challenged US support for the occupation and called for genuine self-determination for Western Sahara. Ironically, they not only include prominent liberals like Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), but such conservatives as Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma).

Do you see any political solutions or institutional measures that can be taken to improve the situation?

As happened during the 1980s in both South Africa and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, the locus of the Western Sahara freedom struggle has shifted from the military and diplomatic initiatives of an exiled armed movement to a largely unarmed popular resistance from within.

Young activists in the occupied territory and even in Sahrawi-populated parts of southern Morocco have confronted Moroccan troops in street demonstrations and other forms of nonviolent action, despite the risk of shootings, mass arrests and torture. Sahrawis from different sectors of society have engaged in protests, strikes, cultural celebrations, and other forms of civil resistance focused on such issues as educational policy, human rights, the release of political prisoners and the right to self-determination. They also raised the cost of occupation for the Moroccan government and increased the visibility of the Sahrawi cause. Indeed, perhaps most significantly, civil resistance helped to build support for the Sahrawi movement among international NGOs, solidarity groups and even sympathetic Moroccans.

Morocco has been able to persist in flouting its international legal obligations toward Western Sahara largely because France and the United States have continued to arm Moroccan occupation forces and block the enforcement of resolutions in the UN Security Council demanding that Morocco allow for self-determination or even simply allow human rights monitoring in the occupied country.

It is unfortunate, therefore, that there has been so little attention given to US support for the Moroccan occupation, even by peace and human rights activists. In Europe, there is a small but growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign focusing on Western Sahara, but not much activity on this side of the Atlantic, despite the critical role the United States has played over the decades. Many of the same issues — such as self-determination, human rights, international law, the illegitimacy of colonizing occupied territory, justice for refugees, etc. — which are at stake in regard to the Israeli occupation also apply to the Moroccan occupation, and the Sahrawis deserve our support as much as the Palestinians. Indeed, including Morocco in BDS calls currently targeting just Israel would actually strengthen solidarity efforts with Palestine, since it would challenge the notion that Israel was being unfairly singled out.

At least as important as the ongoing nonviolent resistance by Sahrawis is the potential of nonviolent action by the citizens of France, the United States and other countries that enable Morocco to maintain its occupation. Such campaigns played a major role in forcing Australia, Great Britain and the United States to end their support for Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, finally enabling the former Portuguese colony to become free.

The only realistic hope to end the occupation of Western Sahara, resolve the conflict and save the vitally important post-World War II principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter — which forbid any country from expanding its territory through military force — may be a similar campaign by global civil society.

The post What Can We Expect From Trump on Morocco’s Occupation of Western Sahara? appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

How Liberal Partisan Politics Strengthen the Right Wing

Truth Out - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:35
“My mind is appalled at the thought of a political party having control of all the details that go to make up the sum total of our lives.” — Lucy Parsons 

The desire to condemn evil and wrongdoing should not be a partisan matter, but the brutality of the present shows us how many people feel otherwise.

In the midst of each despicable advance the right wing makes at the expense of people’s lives, there is always shock and awe from the liberal class. There’s the shock that it’s actually happening, the shock that liberalism is failing to halt right-wing encroachments and the shock that oppression has happened under the direction of Democratic Party politicians as well Republican ones. This says a lot, but a very important takeaway is how liberalism coalesces the very oppressive forces many of its constituents think they are actively opposing by being liberals. The travesty that is immigration policy in the US gives us a very clear picture of contradiction.

A creation of the Bush administration, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was one of the sweeping reforms made after the 9/11 attacks. During a time in which war fever was being heavily stoked, the Democratic Party largely went along with virtually everything the Republicans were incentivizing in the name of nationalist fervor. Under the guise of patriotism, the Democrats enabled wars, policies and attitudes that have become some of the most atrocious events seen in our lifetimes.

The responsibility of maintaining empire and continuing violence isn’t one-sided within the US’s two-party system, it’s the only side. Our votes will elect those who enforce hegemony around the globe no matter if we cast them to the right or the relative left. This is how we ended up with ICE and foreign policy that destabilizes other nations abroad, producing unlivable conditions for many people around the globe.

The migrants, immigrants and refugees who have come or have attempted to come to the US are forced to make the journey through the grate of US politics. They cross the borders of an empire that has long crossed over them. In return, they are treated as if they are criminals for simply doing their best to survive. Though the language of the two parties may differ at times, the end result is the regular extension of empire’s violence, and that has remained the same no matter who is in power.

During the Obama presidency, the Democratic Party showed unabashed support for Obama’s attachment to the policies of the Bush administration that came before him. Whether it was Wall Street bailouts, immigration policy or the “war on terror,” when there was an opportunity to end the unacceptable, it was squandered instead. The Democrats excused their strengthening of Bush-era policy by wrapping atrocity in nicer language. President Obama always made sure to emphasize his record-level deportation apparatus was focusing on “criminals,” as if criminals should have less rights by default; President Trump entered the White House echoing this idea.

The responsibility of maintaining empire and continuing violence isn’t one-sided within the US’s two-party system, it’s the only side.

When the Bush administration responded to the panic of 9/11 by using the emergency to manipulate and overreach, the Democrats helped give the state bigger weapons to carry out their agenda. The Democrats aided right-wing supporters and the Republican Party at the time, as they often still do, at many of their own constituents’ expense. While many liberal voters may have thought they were being more moral for “reaching across the aisle” to affirm at least some or part of the right’s racist, xenophobic paranoias, they were, and have been, merely assisting the destruction.

President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” stance on immigration which breaks up families is directly connected to the Republicans and Democrats who broke up families before him and enabled him with the means to do so. President Clinton’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 helped pave the way for ICE as we know it. Using this terrible act, Clinton went about expanding Border Patrol, criminalizing various low-level immigration violations and enlarging the deportation machine.

In 2014, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said that children who cross the border should be “sent back,” and stated that, “We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,” the former secretary of state said. “So, we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.” It’s worth questioning if liberal voters and Democratic Party politicians would have decried another anti-immigrant Clinton administration the way they’ve decried Trump’s.

Hypocrisy is exposed under the headlines. People react in shock to not-new abuses happening under Trump that have been occurring for the last two administrations or more. When it was announced that the Trump administration planned to house migrant children in tents, The Washington Post noted that, “The shelter site, at the Tornillo-Marcelino Serna port of entry, is about 20 miles east of El Paso along the Mexico border. It was last used in 2016 to house migrant children and families in large, dormitory-style canvas tents.”

We are now poised to see something much worse than Trump unless we prioritize reorganizing all that we can into a true opposition.

In 2014, the Obama administration housed more than 7,000 children at bases in Oklahoma, Texas and California for months. NBC Nightly News pointed out just as much saying, “It will not be the first time the US government has erected tent cities to house immigrants. US Customs and Border Protection used tents to house an influx of immigrants in 2014 and at the end of the Obama administration.”

This regularly gets left out when prominent liberal politicians and pundits rush to condemn Trump. To maintain its cherished role as the lesser-evil party, the Democrats willfully ignore the connectivity of their own party in creating, perpetuating and inflicting the brutality they pretend to be inherently opposed to and manipulate their base.

The contradiction maybe most embarrassingly reared its head when a number of liberals — and at least one former Obama administration official — mistakenly shared photos they thought were exposing the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrant children when they were, in fact, from President Obama’s term. Surely if one’s desire to condemn wrongdoing and evil is partisan, that person doesn’t have a problem with wrongdoing or evil as much as they do with who gets to carry it out and (maybe) how it looks or sounds when they do so.

The brutal normalcy of atrocity is strengthened by a liberal class that will not admit fault and entertains the despicable in the name of tolerance. Democrats and their supporters have pushed the right so far ahead by pretending to be opposed to the violence they regularly inflict themselves. By strengthening the right to the extent they have, we are now poised to see something much worse than Trump unless we prioritize disorganizing the liberal class from party politics and reorganizing all that we can into a true opposition. It may only be a matter of time before we see a president who has fascist desires with more competency to carry them out.

If we are to move forward, abolishing and opposing tyranny where and when we rightfully should, and a radical honesty is required of us. There can be no more lies and deceptions for the sake of party politics. Telling the truth about violence is an important part of combatting it. The question should no longer be who is better equipped to carry out state violence against us, but instead, when and how will we stop all the violence against us.

The post How Liberal Partisan Politics Strengthen the Right Wing appeared first on Truthout.

Categories: News

'Super Polluting' Trucks Receive Loophole on Pruitt's Last Day at EPA

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:13

'Super Polluting' Trucks Receive Loophole on Pruitt's Last Day at EPA | 06 July 2018 | In the final hours of Scott Pruitt's tenure as administrator, the Environmental Protection Agency moved on Friday to effectively grant a loophole that will allow a major increase in the manufacturing of a diesel freight truck that produces as much as 55 times the air pollution as trucks that have modern emissions controls. The move by the E.P.A. came after intense lobbying by a small set of manufacturers that sell glider trucks, which use old engines built before new technologies significantly reduced emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxide that are blamed for asthma, lung cancer and other ailments... Agency officials confirmed to The New York Times that, through the end of 2019, the E.P.A. will not enforce an annual cap of 300 gliders per manufacturer that had been imposed in January.

Categories: News

Electric Vehicle Sales Foretell a Big Oil Crash

deSmog - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:01
Read time: 4 minsElectric vehicle charging stations in a parking lot in France

By Paul Brown. Originally posted on Climate News Network.

Oil and gas companies have underestimated probable electric vehicle sales and the effect they will have on their own businesses and profits, a new report says.

If the car manufacturers’ projections of future sales of electric cars are correct, then demand for oil will have peaked by 2027 or even earlier, sending the price of oil in a downward spiral as supply exceeds demand, says Carbon Tracker (CT), an independent financial think tank carrying out in-depth analysis on the impact of the energy transition on capital markets.

Tags: oil industryelectric vehiclesautomobile manufacturerscarbon tracker
Categories: News

Are You Fit Enough to Survive?

The Organic Prepper - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 11:58

There is not one prep greater than your own body and mind.

That sounds like a broad, sweeping statement, but it’s 100% true.

If you aren’t fit – both physically … Read the rest

The post Are You Fit Enough to Survive? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Categories: News

Memos detail FBI's 'Hurry the F up pressure' to probe Trump campaign

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 06:15

Memos detail FBI's 'Hurry the F up pressure' to probe Trump campaign | 06 July 2018 | Investigators already have unearthed troubling internal [FBI] communications long withheld from public view. We already know from FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok's now-infamous text messages with his fellow agent and reported lover, Lisa Page, that Strzok -- the man driving that Russia collusion investigation -- disdained Donald Trump and expressed willingness to use his law enforcement powers to "stop" the Republican from becoming president. Memos the FBI is producing to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general and multiple Senate and House committees offer what sources involved in the production, review or investigation describe to me as "damning" or "troubling" evidence. They show Strzok and his counterintelligence team rushing in the fall of 2016 to find "derogatory" information from informants or a "pretext" to accelerate the probe and get a surveillance warrant on figures tied to the future president.

Categories: News

Washington DC: Banner Drop “Against the Limo and its World”

It's Goin Down - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 05:12

The post Washington DC: Banner Drop “Against the Limo and its World” appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following photo and report was anonymously sent to It’s Going Down.

On January 20th 2017, a limo was set aflame in response to Trump’s inauguration in Washington D.C.

In opposition to the fascist, white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist system we live in; a limo was torched as an act of rebellion against the totality of all things oppressive.

Some decried the action, others rejoiced. But what better symbolizes the tyranny of this world than a uselessly long expensive car that caters to a decadent few. A gentrifying force which only serves the privileged at the expense of the marginalized.

“Against the limo and its world.”

A banner was dropped in remembrance of J20’s revolutionary flames, in solidarity with those resisting ICE detention centers, and as an admonition against Amazon’s intent to establish a second HQ here.

#J20

#MeltICE

#NoAmazon

Categories: News

Fuel removal from Fukushima reactor may be delayed

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 04:37

Fuel removal from Fukushima reactor may be delayed | 28 June 2018 | The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says work to remove spent nuclear fuel from a cooling pool at one of its reactors may be delayed. A total of 566 fuel units remain in the cooling pool at the No.3 reactor, which suffered a meltdown in 2011. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, planned to start removing the fuel as early as this autumn, as part of the decommissioning of the nuclear complex. But on Thursday, TEPCO revealed the control board of a crane used in the removal malfunctioned during a test run last month.

Categories: News

Mexico City: Guards Attack Cimarrón Collective’s Autonomous Prison Library

It's Goin Down - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 03:37

The post Mexico City: Guards Attack Cimarrón Collective’s Autonomous Prison Library appeared first on It's Going Down.

This communique speaks to the recent attacks against imprisoned compañeros in the Reclusorio Norte, including the destruction of the autonomous library spearheaded by the Cimarrón Collective. The original in Spanish was published by Proyecto Ambulante and can be found here.

On July 5th, 2018, the compañeros incarcerated in the Reclusorio Norte that make up part of the Cimarrón collective—a collective that has promoted the establishment of an alternative library in the prison—have informed us that this library was attacked by guards. This attack was ordered by the commander Hormigo (the sub-director of security) and Campos, who since this past Tuesday has forced the compañeros to cut their hair beneath threats of being sent to the Maximum-Security Module of the prison.

In the face of these threats, the compañeros agreed to cut their hair, but afterwards filed a complaint against the arrogant attitudes of the security personal. For this reason, the previously mentioned commanders called the compañeros to the governing area to continue with the threats. This time they said that if they did not withdraw their complaint, they would be taken to the Maximum-Security Module.

All of this followed violent revisions by the guards in the cells where the compañeros live, ending with the looting and destruction of the alternative library, Xosé Tarrio González, and the consignment of compañero Gerardo Ramírez Valenzuela to the Punishment Dormitory 1 beneath absurd pretexts. It is also necessary to mention that these attitudes of harassment have been taking place for months, since the authorities see this library space as a danger to their economic interests.

We denounce the attack on this cultural project where the prisoners are able to express themselves freely, and we question the double standards and hypocrisy of the prison authorities. While on one hand they attack spaces of cultural and artistic diffusion, criminalizing those that refuse to docilely submit to their politics of extermination and death, on the other hand, they permit and protect criminal enterprises, of which, the highest administrative functionaries of the prison form a part.

For all of this, we hold responsible the director of the prison, Enrique Serrano Flores, who is in charge of the auditorium Mónica Mandujano Rosillo, and the commanders Hormigo and Campos, for the damage caused to the library and the physical well-being of the compañeros of the collective: Luis Lázaro Urgell, Alejandro N. and Gerardo Ramírez Valenzuela. We also demand that Gerardo is returned from punishment to his normal living quarters.

Categories: News

Oglala Lakota Water Protector Locks Down to Construction site for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline

It's Goin Down - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:26

The post Oglala Lakota Water Protector Locks Down to Construction site for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline appeared first on It's Going Down.

Lock-downs continue against the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana.

This morning Mark Tilsen, an Oglala Lakota water protector locked-down to a critical construction site for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in southern Louisiana. All construction was SHUT DOWN.

When police arrived on the scene they arrested all support people at the site, including those across the street from the action. Those arrested include direct support people, media, and Cherri Foytlin.

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Today on his 35th birthday, Mark Tilsen locked-down to stop construction of a key part of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. We have been told that Mark was just extracted and arrested. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Bayou Bridge would directly connect with the Dakota Access Pipeline system and would bring oil from North Dakota to oil export terminals in Louisiana. A total of seven people were arrested at today's action, as police targetted all support people on site. Please donate to support our movement and to help us get folks out of jail: https://www.youcaring.com/leauestlavienobayoubridgepipeline-807622——Fight the tail end of DAPL, join the resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.Apply to JOIN US AT CAMP: http://bit.ly/JoinTheFrontlinesOr organize a SOLIDARITY ACTION as part of the upcoming #RiseTogether Weeks of Action: www.NoBayouBridge.global/risetogetherWe will also be hosting a national call Monday at 830pm EST where folks can learn more about the Weeks of Action: https://bit.ly/2zrd6BB#NoBayouBridge #StopETP #WaterIsLife

Posted by L'eau Est La Vie Camp – No Bayou Bridge on Friday, July 6, 2018

The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. Bayou Bridge would directly connect with the Dakota Access Pipeline system and would bring oil from North Dakota to oil export terminals in Louisiana.

A total of seven people were arrested at today’s action, as police targetted all support people on site. Please donate to support our movement and to help us get folks out of jail: https://www.youcaring.com/leauestlavienobayoubridgepipeline…

Fight the tail end of DAPL, join the resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.

Apply to JOIN US AT CAMP: http://bit.ly/JoinTheFrontlines

Or organize a SOLIDARITY ACTION as part of the upcoming #RiseTogether Weeks of Action: www.NoBayouBridge.global/risetogether

We will also be hosting a national call Monday at 830pm EST where folks can learn more about the Weeks of Action: https://bit.ly/2zrd6BB

#NoBayouBridge #StopETP #WaterIsLife

Categories: News

Help Support the Ongoing #OccupyICE Encampment in Charlotte, NC

It's Goin Down - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:19

The post Help Support the Ongoing #OccupyICE Encampment in Charlotte, NC appeared first on It's Going Down.

Call for people to get involved in the ongoing #OccupyICE encampment in Charlotte, NC.

Since July 1st, a small but determined crew of anti-fascist ICE abolitionists have been occupying the area in front of the DHS building in Charlotte, NC where immigrant folks are actively kidnapped and imprisoned by this capitalist imperialist hell hole.

For 5 days now we have filled the air with raucous chants of “Abolish ICE!”  “Abolish Police!” and “Abolish Borders!”. Everyday dozens of folks have driven by honking and cheering in support and bringing supplies. We have received food, medical supplies, the good kind of ice, and camping gear, but there’s just one more thing we need: y’all to come on out!

In order to truly disrupt the fuck outta this concentration camp we *really* need more down, rowdy people! So if you were waiting for one, here’s ya gotdamn invitation to bring the mother truckin ruckus to resist the existence of the absolute fascist horror that is ICE.

Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/669111323438489/?ti=cl for address.

#OccupyICECLT #ChingaLaMigra #AbolishICE

Categories: News

After Embarrassing Defeat in Montreal, Far-Right Trolls News of Antifascist Attack

It's Goin Down - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 00:00

The post After Embarrassing Defeat in Montreal, Far-Right Trolls News of Antifascist Attack appeared first on It's Going Down.

In the fake of large scale losses in Montreal, the far-Right in so-called Canada went back to doing that they do best – lying on the internet.

A particularly disgusting piece of “fake news” was being shared on social media following to two far-right rallies that occurred in Montreal on July 1st.

While La Meute and Storm Alliance were immobilized by antifascists, a smaller march called by the Front Patriotique du Québec marched from Carré St-Louis to the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Within hours of the FPQ march ending, a story began to be shared in their networks – and also by members of La Meute, Storm Alliance, and other such groups – about a brutal attack on three Indigenous people who had been trying to join the FPQ march. According to this story, antifascists spotted these would-be Patriots at an unnamed metro station and beat them so badly they had to be hospitalized:

In another post, this same “Calinda Nath Grondin Cado” claimed specifically that it was Jaggi Singh who led this violent attack:

As the story was repeated on twitter by La Meute member Sébastien Chabot (alias World Truth), it became a matter of “the troops of Eve Tores” (sic) who had sent three people to hospital:

The spin people were giving this on social media was that “antifa” had attacked Indigenous people hoping to attend the FPQ march. This plays into the increasingly prominent narrative within the national-populist right, that Québécois were never colonizers but were the historic allies of Indigenous people, who are now called upon to stand with Quebec against the “invasion” of “illegal immigrants” and a corrupt (English) Canadian federal government.

The problem with the story of this attack, of course, is that it is not true. Not even a little bit. As became clear quickly enough.

Thanks to work by comrades at LetroupeauQC, it quickly became clear that the people shown in the photos were in fact victims of violence … just not in Montreal, not in 2018, and not from antifascists.

Mathieu Grégoire was the victim of a homophobic assault in Beauce in 2016:

Stephanie Littlewood was the victim of a brutal assault from her ex-partner in Leeds, England, 2016:

Nagieb Khaja is a journalist who was beaten by border guards at the Turkey/Syria border in 2015:

Yet again, the far right has been caught peddling lies. What makes this case special is how brazen the lie was and how quickly it was debunked by people on our side. Indeed, within 24 hours, members of La Meute were being warned not to share the story, that doing so would simply discredit their side:

While it is good to see that even our opponents have now conceded that this story is untrue, it would be a mistake for us to simply move on without highlighting some important dynamics in play.

First, we must note that two people were accused publicly on social media of being behind a violent assault. Eve Torres is a candidate for Québec Solidaire in the Outremont-Mont Royal riding, who has garnered media attention due to the fact that she wears a hijab. Jaggi Singh is a Montreal-based anarchist and antifascist who both the far right and “mainstream” political and media figures have tried to paint as the “leader of the antifas”. Both Torres and Singh spent the day at the anti-La Meute demonstration and so couldn’t have been involved in any assault some place else, even if it had occurred, but this didn’t stop members of the far right from accusing them. This was both slander, and incitement to violence – more than one person commented on social media how there would be reprisals for this non-attack. It is no coincidence that these two were singled out in this way: hijab-wearing and racialized activists in Quebec are prime targets of the far right here, and always end up topping their “enemies” list. A situation which the mainstream media and political figures are complicit in creating and maintaining, due to its own racism, sexism, and Islamophobia.

   

Second, this serves as a reminder that the far right is built on lies and misconceptions about the world. Not a surprise, something we all know. Nonetheless, we assume that most of our opponents are at least sincere – i.e. they may be repeating lies, but we assume they believe them. Yet it is important to keep in mind that there are operators who understand the situation, who realize how credulous their fellow far-rightists are, and who take advantage by consciously fabricating lies in order to advance their agenda. (We saw this in December in the case of “fake news” targeting mosques in Cote-des-Neiges, and more recently when a far-right troll tried to fabricate evidence of sexual assault by a medic at the G7 protests.) Whether these people are police operatives attempting to manipulate the overall political situation, pathological individuals seeking attention, or unscrupulous political agents who don’t mind lying to their own side is often difficult to tell.

Dirty politics of this sort are referred to by police and military as “psychological operations.” Progressive movements need to understand that we are now operating in a situation where such psychological operations are increasingly common, and we need to take precautions to reduce their impact. This is not a problem that will go away, and we are horribly mistaken (and naive) if we believe that all cases will be this easy to spot. We have to be careful.

Categories: News

Borders = Global Apartheid: A New Poster

It's Goin Down - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 23:46

The post Borders = Global Apartheid: A New Poster appeared first on It's Going Down.

To support the ongoing fight against the racialized power disparities imposed by citizenship and national boundaries, CrimethInc. has prepared a new poster, “Borders=Global Apartheid.”

National boundaries are one of the chief structural factors that enforce de facto white supremacy. While Donald Trump’s remarks have made it clear that he sees immigration policy as a way to systematically privilege whiteness on a global scale, the regulation of immigration has always served that function, ever since this land was wrested from its original inhabitants. National boundaries are one of the ways that the state purports to protect citizens from the Other—when nothing is more dangerous than to concentrate so much force and legitimacy in a single militarized institution.

The constructs of race and national citizenship are two of the most fundamental tools used to divide those who are exploited under capitalism. We do not believe it is ever truly in the interests of any group to identify with those above them in the hierarchy rather than organizing alongside those who are less privileged than them. If we permit our rulers to determine whose lives are valuable and whose lives are not, they will ultimately target citizens with the same repressive apparatus they use against those who lack documents.

Our hearts go out to all the people who are suffering in detention centers at this moment—to all the families who have been separated by ICE agents or immigration protocols—to everyone who is treated as expendable and inferior.

This poster draws on material from the book we published last year, No Wall They Can Build, about the forces driving and impeding migration throughout North America, and from our earlier poster, “Borders: The Global Caste System.” Please print these out and wheatpaste them around your community. We’ve also published a sticker you can use to the same purpose.

Click the image above to access the PDF.

Click the image above to access the PDF.

The poster text follows:

Borders don’t surround populations; they run through them. They don’t protect communities; they cut them apart. There are 11 million undocumented people in the United States, many of whom have lived here for decades. Without their labor, the economy would grind to a halt. Of those who cross the border without papers, half are deportees attempting to return to their families in the US.

The point of deportations is not to empty the US of undocumented people. It is to terrorize them with the threat of deportation in order to maintain a caste system. As long as part of the population lives in constant danger, employers can exploit a vast pool of disposable labor. This drives down wages for workers with US citizenship, too. But it’s not undocumented immigrants who are “stealing their jobs”—it’s the border itself.

The border enables the ruling class to force down wages, suppress dissent, and channel resentment towards those who have the least power in society rather than those who have the most. The solution isn’t just to abolish the border—it is to put an end to the social order it protects.

Further Reading

The Limit Point of Capitalist Equality: Notes towards an Abolitionist Anti-Racism, by Chris Chen

Categories: News

Affinity: Beyond Friendship

It's Goin Down - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 23:19

The post Affinity: Beyond Friendship appeared first on It's Going Down.

Video collaboration between Sub.Media and Resonance Audio Distro.

Affinity is exactly this: a reciprocal knowledge between comrades, shared analysis that lead to prospectives of action. Affinity is therefore directed on one hand towards theoretical deepening and on the other towards intervention in social conflictuality.

Categories: News

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